Author Archive: Liv Siddall

Ls-300

Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our editors. She oversees itsnicethat.com and has a particular interest in illustration, photography and music videos. She is also a regular guest and sometime host on our Studio Audience podcast.

ls@itsnicethat.com@LivSiddall

1661 articles
  1. Davidtitlow-damonalbarn-int

    This year’s open submission Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize was awarded to London-based photographer David Titlow for a photograph of his toddler son. The photograph, if you haven’t seen it, is a hazy, Vermeer-esque image of David’s hungover friends on the morning after a party, passing his new son around in the cold light of the Swedish sun. Back on UK soil, David’s work couldn’t be more different. He seems to be something of a darling of the glossies: snapping models and celebs for the likes of Vanity Fair, Esquire, Nylon and Marie Claire. His impulsive, confident shots are a far cry from his tender, voyeuristic personal work – which is why we wanted to ask him a few questions about what he does. Here he is…

  2. Asger_carlsen-nymagthecut-int

    The annually ubiquitous words “resort collection” evoke whiffs of Campari and orange, sunset-lit terraces in The Hamptons, a suitcase of freshly pressed, pastel daywear. That’s why we were rather surprised when New York Magazine’s fashion branch The Cut decided to commission Asger Carlsen to help show off 2015’s sartorial offerings. Asger is a Danish artist living and working in New York, and is the go-to man for distorted, nightmare-like monochromatic images that have the power to send bolts of nerves fleetingly through your teeth.

  3. Arthurdrooker-merfest-main-int

    Cool Hunting used to be a place of current art and design, expensive watches, exclusive booze bottles, leather mountaineering accessories and cars you will never be able to afford. Nowadays it’s a place of exotic content nestled snugly in a brand new redesign that’s pretty ahead of the game. Recently it’s been championing the work of an American photographer called Arthur Drooker, largely focusing on his series entitled Conventional Wisdom. Arthur is something of a curiosity-lover, and his wild, weird series are the visual result of him being unable to resist the pull of “Bronies,” ventriloquists, clowns, re-enactors and taxidermists.

  4. Joedator-self-int

    Interviewing cartoonist Joe Dator is a real honour, because he’s a total hero and also a spectacular interviewee. Listen to him talk about his working life: “Everything revolves around Tuesday. The New Yorker cartoon meeting is on Tuesday, so that’s the day we all submit our new ideas to the editor…I usually work over the weekend and by Monday night I’m in full-on lockdown to get my batch of ideas ready. Wednesday is a day off. If you ever want to socialise with a New Yorker cartoonist, Wednesday is the day to do it.”

  5. Doug-hindson-disconnect-int8

    Maybe it’s because it’s January and yesterday was officially the most suicidal day of the year, but something about this animation really threw me. It was something to do with the throbbing pain in my thumbs from playing too much Candy Crush Soda Saga (in bed, on the train, in the bath) and that numb-eyed sensation that comes from scrolling through Twitter like a dead person, and refreshing Facebook without even knowing I’m doing it. Technology, as much affection we have for it, is a barrage of information that we don’t know how to handle – and the amount of time we engage with it is spiralling out of control.

  6. Robpybus-thenewrepublic

    It’s great to see Rob Pybus’ work again after a little bit of a break. Like many illustrators at the moment, Rob has been unable to resist the allure of GIFs, and has clearly been spending a lot of his time recently turning his marvellous, perspective-skewing illustrations into mini films. Rob’s also been busy working for a whole bunch of exciting new clients such as Wired, The New York Times, Jacobin and Original Source, among others.

  7. Main

    When we were up at Graphic Design Festival Scotland last year we met two nice guys called Dominic Kesterton and Orlando Lloyd who were assisting people in their design dreams by showing them how to make their own riso prints. A fantastic illustrator and designer respectively, Dominic and Orlando started up a small printing press, Workhorse Press, during their time studying in Edinburgh. We wanted to talk to them about why they’re still at it, the difficulties they face, and why Scotland’s print, design and illustration scene would be lost without them. Here they are…

  8. Main

    There are a lot of people talking about this documentary. It’s something of a whirlwind 12 minutes in which Guardian writer Kieran Yates and director Marcus Plowright immerse themselves in one of London, or perhaps the world’s most intriguing, exciting countercultures: Muslim drag queens. Through east London bedrooms and the back seats of taxis we are led into the world of men whose lives revolve around transforming into women and performing in increasingly packed-out drag clubs across the country. Kieran, who originally pitched this idea to The Guardian, kindly allowed us to ask her some questions on what is a small but phenomenally informative and powerful short.

  9. Mainjb

    Their home is Comme Des Garcons’ London superstore, Dover Street Market, and their trade is buying and selling some of the rarest, most desirable cult books in history. Who are they? IDEA Books. IDEA are Angela, David and Sandra, who spend their lives trawling the world (online and real) for rare, sometimes dog-eared publications that hoarders like me totally drool over; be it books on French style full of photos of a young Jane Birkin, old American high school films, rare catalogues from the screenings of films such as The Virgin Suicides or Over The Edge (two of my personal favourites) or even just image-heavy magazines and tomes that suggest a more bohemian way to live your life. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been presented with an online shop that has made me feel nervous with competition at the prospect of someone else owning the products rather than me.

  10. Main_10.00.34

    If I won the lottery I’d open a gallery, and when I opened my gallery I’d totally rip off everything that David Kordansky Gallery does. From the big stuff like the very well-curated, cool list of artists they represent, to the impeccable printed matter they produce, to the matter of their easily navigable and well designed website – these guys are celebrating people’s work in the best way possible.

  11. Unnamed-2

    Back to school, back to work – it’s not surprising everyone’s got anxious, upside down smiles at this time of the year. Most fresh starts are usually followed by fresh resolutions – and we’re no stranger to looking ahead and trying to predict what’s going to happen in our own lives, as well as that of the creative world. With that in mind, we’ve put our slightly mushy heads together and concocted a list of ten animators, designers, illustrators, magazines and artists who are about to spring from the perfectly acceptable “small time” to the much-lauded “big time.” Ready? Here they are in no particular order…

  12. Main2

    Did you know there are 722 Emoji options? I don’t know about you but I tend to use the same five over and over, they’re like talismans of my soul (if you’re asking: rowing man, sitting monkey, balloon, yellow sun face and chick coming out of egg). There’s a new site fluttering around the internet at the moment that allows you to pick any Emoji from the astonishingly extensive menu and create your own “art” with it. Slide the small toolbar in the bottom right to enlarge the Emoji of your choice and you can make scenes you have always dreamt of. For example: farting pig rides small stripey yacht while being chased by frog heads pushed along in the current by front crawl swimmers who, in turn, are being chased by happy little piles of poop. Fun! Also a big thanks to Josh King of King Zog for pointing us towards this gem.

  13. Main_11.47.10

    Now that pretty much everyone in the whole world has a blog, you don’t have to tell someone twice to share something about themselves with the entire web. I’d be inclined to think that a lot of people present themselves differently online to how they truly are in the real world, and it’s always so refreshing to come across an artist or illustrator who is just totally honest about themselves. Rami Niemi is one of those: as well as updating his website with his incredible, neat and brightly coloured editorial illustration all the time, he also gives viewers a chance to see a more personal aspect of his work via his sketches in a collection he calls The Polycottons.

  14. Main9

    You don’t get as much editorial illustration and art direction like this as you used to. Back in the day, this sort of visual pun-based work was used to illustrate pretty much every article under the sun in order to quickly get a hard-hitting point across and lure readers in to the actual story. Nowadays people like The New York Times Magazine are some of the only guys who still use this method – and when they do they call on Javier Jaén. The Barcelona-born designer spends the majority of his time collaborating with art directors, photographers and illustrators to concoct clever, pleasing visual cues that sit comfortably among the pages of big-dog publications such as The New Yorker and The Washington Post. You don’t get many more “simple idea, well executed” examples than in Javier’s portfolio, not to mention the rather beautiful last line on his online bio – “He has still not written a child, planted a book, or given birth to a tree. Everything is waiting to be done.”

  15. Main

    It was hard to go through Justin Fantl’s portfolio and hone in on just one project: his enormous selection of intriguing photographic series is vast enough to get lost in for at least an hour or two. Be it the wild, weird attractions of Vegas, the Mars-like landscape of Death Valley, fluffy dogs, dinosaur bones, Iceland, crowds, mini golf – you name it, Justin’s got a great collection of pictures of it.

  16. Main

    All over the world funny and loving music nerds who appreciate whale song, birds tweeting, technology and pizza are crying “Yay! Panda Bear!” The American musician who is currently residing in Portugal has just launched a brand new website, featuring an animated interactive slideshow to accompany the fizzing echoes of the music he makes. Just one tap on your computer keyboard and you can fly through strange, sometimes seizure-inducing audio and visual clips put together by Patakk, Marco Papiro and Danny Perez, with a little help from Seen Studio. Not totally unlike the freaky tunnel boat scene in the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, this cunning album promo is a perfect accompaniment to Panda Bear’s well-known and much-loved sound and vibe. You can read a really great interview with Noah Lennox himself over here on Pitchfork.

  17. Main3

    Sometimes when I see an artist’s work that particularly resonates with my brain, I work back in time to form my own private and completely fictional mood board. In the case of Adam Higton, his drawings conjure crisp autumnal smells, the Incredible String Band, children’s bedsheets, tree carvings, Morris Men, Steeleye Span, and the patterned variety of 1970s crockery you often see in caravans. Adam has something of a cult following: trendy publishers Landfill Editions made a fantastic book of his drawings and he’s been known to design some very desirable record sleeves. His mystical pseudonym Yule Bringer refers to his time spent dressed as a witch making live music on various stages around the country. See him over here playing at Bath Spa university to a bunch of design students who have each been given an item of percussion to help accompany him. So fun, what a wonderful man.

  18. Main_17.58.07

    Anyone whose surname is a perfect cross between biscuit and cup surely has some sort of magic dwelling within them. London-based David Biskup’s work is a pleasing medley of intelligent, bean-like characters and immaculately chosen colour fades. Not content with making fantastic editorial work for the likes of (deep breath) The New York Times, WeTransfer, Wired, The Sunday Times Magazine, Le Monde Diplomatique (DE) and Computer Arts, David moonlights as a particularly impressive cartoonist. He creates innovative, well-designed comic strips depicting man’s struggle that even at his young age mirror the talent of people such as Jim Stoten or even Chris Ware, and I can’t wait to see some of his printed matter in the flesh.

  19. Main9

    One half of Berlin-based print studio Palefroi, Damien Tran spends his days creating lo-fi gig posters for the various trendy happenings in his hometown. Using the ancient art of wielding shedloads of skill to make something look really easy (see ice skating, playing drums and football), Damien’s posters are a lot more intricate than they seem, and pleasingly stray away from the classic gig poster aesthetic we so often see. His style is so recognisable that I don’t doubt there are a few people in Berlin collecting the posters by him that they see fluttering on billboards in the cold wind, I know I’d nick that Micachu one if I could.

  20. Main

    If you’ve been staggering through the streets of London of late you may have clocked some funny murals and slogans in a curiously similar typeface, painted on undesirable street objects such as bins, skips, old mattresses and the like. This is the work of one of our all time favourite illustrators Ian Stevenson. His outdoor antics have caught the attention of a certain Russell Brand, who used Ian’s eye-catching, no-bullshit work to promote his somewhat controversial new book. We had a chat with Ian about what he’s been up to of late, and what it was like making work for Russell.

  21. Mjpc

    It’s good to start the year with some fresh, simply lovely illustration from a young artist, and these curious collage works are the brain-droppings of London-based Jean-Philippe Calver. I’d pretty much always stand by the idea that scrappy lo-fi collage is superior to the neat, exquisitely cut-out variety. Jean-Philippe’s work slots into the former category perfectly: his collage work is so lo-fi that it looks as if he’s been storing it on the floor of a studio that he shares with a chimneysweep. But there you go, that’s the charm with Jean, his website’s a bit shit and his work is thrown together from scraps – but somehow that’s what makes him truly brilliant. Don’t go changing, Jean-Philippe!

  22. List_editors-picks-misc

    The miscellaneous category is rarely added to, but when it is it’s usually with someone or something pretty spesh. I like to think of it a little bit like that drawer or cupboard in your house where you stash the really useful crap that is too good to throw away. In this list I’ve compiled a few of my favourites from 2014, from bread-simulation games to round-the-clock breakfast radio. If you’re still hungry for more miscellany, just head over here.

  23. Main

    10 hour days require some diverse, entertaining playlists. And with an office holding about 20 or so music fans beneath its roof, you can imagine there is quite a lot of different tastes floating around. In this mixtape we have tried to sum up the general nature of the music we listen to at It’s Nice That, meanwhile keeping it cool enough that you could probably put it on at a party and get away with it (apart from R.Kelly’s World’s Greatest – you may want to skip that in trendy company).

  24. Main

    Do you reckon Ai Wei Wei might like a bouncy castle for Christmas? We do. There’s a whopping total of SIX people in this podcast including It’s Nice That Directors Alex Bec and Will Hudson, and boy is it hectic. In it we discuss the creative world in 2014, the year gone by and the one approaching us, and tales of Rob going to church when he was little. Sound good? It’s better. Merry Christmas from the whole It’s Nice That team, and we will see you on the other side for more Studio Audience!

  25. List_liv-s

    Hello. My name’s Liv, and this year my best three moments have been hosting the Modern Magazine Conference, interviewing my sister for Riposte magazine, and flashing Robert Plant at the Camden Roundhouse. Merry Christmas!

  26. List_the-top-50

    Hello and welcome to the top 50 articles that have been most viewed on It’s Nice That this year. As always, it’s a pretty unexpected mishmash of really great work, viral gems and utterly weird nonsense. Congrats to everyone featured, there are a lot of people out there who have clicked on your project an awful lot of times. Alright, on yer marks, starting from number 50, here we go…

  27. Main

    Artist Larry van Pelt wants to spread the word that “Jesus in life makes a difference.” Already a keen artist, Florida-based Larry decided to use his creative skills to spread the message, and began drawing Jesus in a number of different working environments. His collection involves a huge range of work scenarios, including a truck driver, a secretary, a carpet layer, a bodybuilder and a french horn player.

  28. List

    We recently came across Scottish artist Sam Lyon who resides in Dundee and makes these jiggling, nonsensical, fleshy GIFs. The creatures channel Flubber, sea cucumbers and those floppy little rubber sausages you used to get at school. The technical skill it must take to make them is beyond me I’m afraid, so I can’t shed any light on how this is done, but what I can say is that Sam’s style has the winning formula of hilarious, addictive and brand new. Every face-crease, every stomach bulge, every wobbly bit is so over-pronounced, and moves as if it’s full of goo. I’ve never seen anything quite like this before, have you? You can see the inspiration behind these little guys over on Sam’s entertaining and brilliant blog. It’s also worth saying that anyone who codes a fried egg GIF on to their cursor is post-worthy in my book.

  29. Main

    Fate dealt us a good hand a few weeks back, while we were searching for a portrait of Raymond Briggs to accompany an interview we did with him in the latest Printed Pages. The best one we found, one that summed up the temperament of Raymond effortlessly, was by a photographer called Toby Glanville. A quick look at his site confirmed that Toby was a very, very good photographer, with a strong body of work that seems to hold a style, a smell, and a vibe. Toby kindly allowed us to use his portrait of Raymond for the magazine, and to find out a little bit more about his exquisite photography, we asked him a few questions. Here he is on the art a good portrait, his top three photographers and that day he spent with Raymond…

  30. Main

    Just as I was wondering nervously if Laura Marling had gone and got lost in the wilderness of Joshua Tree for good, she’s gone and announced a new album – hoorah! Just like Beyonce, Laura has accompanied the sudden announcement of her new songs with a video: a truly beautiful little animation from London studio Art & Graft. Featuring a few drops of ink transforming slowly into a wild, headstrong horse galloping through a desert to a world unknown, this powerful little piece of film is enough to remind us of Laura’s own majesty. The rather moving essay on her brand new website backs this up perfectly. Welcome back Laura, you’ve been missed.

  31. Main

    None of us at It’s Nice That could work out exactly what it was about Daniel Guerrero Fernández’s drawings that we loved, but we all agreed it was great. Clouds, mountains, planets, yin-yangs, waterfalls, swords – something about his portfolio is a cross between K-pop and Game of Thrones with a pinch of Studio Ghibli thrown in for good measure. Anyone that can pour that amount of joy on to a page is fine by me, I just hope that after this great interview over on Urban Outfitters he’s still got some of those pin badges left.

  32. Varon-list

    This year we spent a good amount of time fawning over a certain shoot by Anna Victoria Best in which she photographed the well-dressed feet of dancers as they scuffed up a well-worn dance floor. That shoot was for Varon, a beautiful piece of print that graces the newsstands biannually and offers a high-contrast, monochromatic glimpse into a more daring side of menswear. If you can believe it, the magazine is now up to its ninth issue, and is now designed by London-based creative Claude d’Avoine. On the mag’s purely black and white aesthetic, Claude says that the magazine is “shot with honest content, encompassing a mix of edgy and classic points of view. The design reflects the honesty in every page. There is no hierarchy between the stories, the idea is that the magazine itself flows consistently from beginning to end.”

  33. Main

    In a beautiful profile in The Guardian recently, journalist Tim Lewis travelled out to the Hollywood hills to peek behind the gates of Hockney’s jungle-like home to get a glimpse of what the now 77-year-old artist is up to. As it happened, he had been very busy indeed: making a whole bunch of new paintings that are, in classic Hockney-style, moving in a totally different direction from his previous work.

  34. Main

    As far as guilty pleasures go, this is the gift that keeps on giving. A weighty, velvety publication that flops around seductively in your arms, Mirage No.4 is the lovechild of Frank Rocholl and Henrik Purienne. Focusing on “Fashion, Swimwear and Jetset Hedonism,” the magazine aims to document the more beautiful things in life: girls, sunshine, architecture, vintage cars, sportsmen and the 1970s.

  35. Main1

    I think I’m safe in saying that fans of Panda Bear, the pseudonym of Noah Lennox of Animal Collective, are probably pretty into video games. I’m also sure that those who are into video games (myself included) are also fans of the good vs. evil storyline prevalent in most games and a lot of films that resemble games, Studio Ghibli etc. There is pure beauty in the little guy overcoming the big baddie, or the idea of friends working together to solve a puzzle, or to override some kind of evil power.

  36. Main

    The seventh issue of the spectacular online photography journal Accent Magazine is here. Pieced together by Lydia Garnett and Lucy Nurnberg, the pair source some of the best young photographers working today and accept submissions of image-based stories from each one to collate into a temporary online space. This issue is truly spellbinding: the stories are even more poignant, the photography is even more crisp and jaw dropping. Personally I find that it can be hard to concentrate on reading a whole printed magazine in one go, but something about this corner of the internet allows me to get stuck in immediately and devour it. Well worth a good half an hour of your time if you can give it. A huge congrats to Lucy and Lydia, again!

  37. Main1

    Stuff like this never gets boring. Remember that super-ancient computer program that allowed you to type something in and have the computer read it aloud? Perfect when you want a machine to tell your big brother that he smells of poop. This cool site by Thirty Labs is similar in that you get to pick what the computer says aloud to you, but different in that the words it compiles are made up of tiny snippets of films. So great to have rude, funny, or just plain boring messages read out by Darth Vader, Garth Elgar, Napoleon Dynamite and Hades from Hercules. Enjoy!

  38. Main

    Mysterious French artist Sarah-Louise Barbett has been comfortably residing in my favourites folder for years now. She updates her Flickr every now and again with more beautifully painted watercolour scenes of some of the most poignantly boring scenarios imaginable. Sarah-Louise sees the world differently to everyone else, she records odd mundanity with extraordinary beauty and wit – capturing the moment someone leaves a bottle of Fanta on a car roof, or when she catches her dog sitting casually on a sofa. Some people might prefer to use a camera to quickly snap these scenes, but that’s why I love Sarah-Louise so much: she chooses to paint them. That one she did of the chubby black labrador (she does seem to have a thing for dogs) is probably one of my favourite images from this year.

  39. Main

    David Shrigley’s got a whopper of a new book out entitled Weak Messages Create Bad Situations. I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes, at this time of year, when you look back at those annual round-ups and “photographs that sum up 2014” it can be easy to feel like the world is just so full of disaster and crap. It seems that the people running this planet have been giving us weak, nay wrong messages this whole time! How mean. And what have they created? A bad situation. We love David’s new book, which totally sums up the feeling of helplessly skidding downhill on a bicycle with no brakes towards a cliff. Here he is on the book, dreams, and the world in general.

  40. Main

    This week, Features Editor Liv Siddall wonders whether the world of illustration, and the events that champion them, have perhaps become a bit stale. And maybe we should take steps to champion as many new and exciting artists as possible, as opposed to falling back on the same names time and time again.